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Not all children get an equal start in life.

Today, 1 in 7 Australian children are living in disadvantage, where even life's basics are hard to come by.

When families are experiencing financial disadvantage children can fall behind with their learning, leaving them more vulnerable to experiencing hardship themselves later in the life.

Research shows children and young people living in disadvantage have access to fewer books and learning materials in the home. Access to support and resources forms the foundation for learning. In many cases, the parents of disadvantaged children may not have the skills or experience to support their child’s education. As these children get older, they have fewer role models, and access to mentors and networks that are critical for creating educational opportunities to help them build their aspirations and be motivated to learn.

The Impact of Disadvantage

Disadvantaged students are on average 2-3 years behind in reading and maths by the time they are 15 years old. The reading gap between the lowest socio?economic status (SES) students and the highest SES students is equivalent to almost three years of schooling.

Year 12 completion rates are significantly lower (58%) for students from low SES backgrounds than for students from high SES backgrounds (77%).

University students from high SES backgrounds are three times more likely to attend, than students from low SES backgrounds.


Since 2008, the Challenge has raised nearly $4million which equates to sponsoring close to 7000 disadvantaged primary school students with their entire education for one year.

The Smith Family Challenge directly funds the Learning for Life programs. They support children and young people to participate more fully in their education by providing innovative, evidence-based programs and emotional, practical and financial support throughout their schooling and tertiary education.


In 2018 we aim to raise over $850,000 and support more than 1,468 students for a year.

You can contribute without even breaking a sweat by donating to an individual or team. It is important to know that all Challengers cover their own event costsmeaning your entire donation goes directly to the Learning for Life Programs.



Below are a range of handy resources to help you spread the word about The Smith Family Challenge.

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